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Monzo Projected to Secure Top Spot as UK’s Most Downloaded Banking App in 2024

As of August 2023, the combined downloads for banking apps in the UK reached 119.5 million. 

Traditional banks constituted 71% of these downloads at 84.5 million, with Santander, a Spanish traditional bank, experiencing the most Year-over-Year (YoY) growth in the UK from August 2022 to August 2023, with 1.3 million downloads, marking an 11.8% increase from the previous year. 

On the other hand, Revolut had the highest downloads over the same period at 2.8 million but saw an 18% drop from August 2021 to August 2022.

Monzo, a digital bank, stood as the second most downloaded banking app in the UK, with 12.2 million downloads as of August 2024. Monzo’s consistent monthly download growth over the past year suggests it is poised to become the most downloaded banking app in the UK. 

Monzo’s popularity stems from its user-friendly mobile app, transparent fee structures, and dedication to innovation. It offers features like no foreign transaction fees, round-up savings, and community engagement to cultivate customer loyalty. The bank’s marketing efforts, partnerships, and easy onboarding procedures have also contributed to its expanding customer base. 

Additionally, Monzo’s transparent communication regarding its financial health and appeal to tech-savvy individuals have solidified its position as a leading digital bank in the UK.

Barclays, a traditional bank based in London, held the title of the most downloaded mobile banking app in the UK as of August 2023, with 12.6 million downloads. 

One of the reasons for its popularity is its ability to integrate accounts from other banks through open banking, allowing users to view balances and other information from multiple accounts in one place, making it particularly convenient for those with various bank accounts for different purposes.

Monzo’s Investment Offerings and Partnership with BlackRock

Monzo’s collaboration with BlackRock has generated substantial interest, with over 200,000 customers joining a waiting list for this upcoming investment opportunity. The waiting list grew rapidly within days of Monzo’s initial announcement in September.

Monzo’s new service will grant its 8 million customers online access to three BlackRock multi-asset funds, which, in turn, invest in a range of passive funds. This impressive waiting list size rivals the number of clients that Nutmeg, the UK’s largest robo-adviser, has gathered over a decade.

The partnership between Monzo and BlackRock reflects a broader trend of asset managers and banks striving to attract tech-savvy, young customers. Exchange-traded fund providers view online services from banks and robo-advisers as a promising sales channel. Despite the advantages that banks offer, such as a larger client base, many robo-advisers, especially startups, face challenges due to rising refinancing costs.

Monzo will provide its customers access to BlackRock’s funds at a lower fee compared to standard ongoing charges, along with a platform fee for Plus and Premium customers. Experts believe that offering ready-made, risk-rated products using ETFs has become the default way to provide a simple investment solution for the mass market.

Monzo’s digital-native customer base is likely to start with small investments, making it vital for asset managers to align with their behaviour for long-term success. However, some Monzo customers have expressed concerns about the bank’s partnership with BlackRock due to past criticisms of BlackRock’s sustainability credentials.

Monzo reassures its customers that the offered funds take ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) factors into strong consideration, and the BlackRock funds aim to reduce their carbon emissions intensity. Additionally, Monzo has launched an investment service that allows its customers to invest with as little as £1. The platform offers three multi-asset funds from BlackRock, catering to various risk preferences. While the service is user-friendly, the fees, totalling 0.59%, may seem high, particularly for larger investments. Monzo’s fees are relatively lower than some competitors, but traditional providers offer even cheaper alternatives.

The platform targets first-time investors with smaller sums to invest, with experts recommending leaving investments for at least five years for optimal returns. However, for larger sums with imminent financial goals, saving accounts might be a more suitable choice.

Wrapping up

Monzo, poised to secure the top spot as the UK’s most downloaded banking app in 2024, reflects the rapidly changing landscape of banking in the digital age. In August 2023, there was a clear upward trend in banking app downloads, yet traditional banks continued to dominate the market. Revolut’s impressive download figures and Santander’s notable YoY increase underline the intense rivalry in this market.

Emerging as a strong contender, with its user-friendly approach, transparent fee structures, and commitment to innovation Monzo’s strategic features have garnered it a loyal customer base. This ongoing growth, supported by its marketing efforts and partnerships, further solidifies its position as a leading digital bank in the UK.

Moreover, Monzo’s venture into investment offerings with BlackRock has attracted significant attention and this partnership aligns with a broader industry trend of asset managers and banks targeting younger, tech-savvy consumers. 

While Monzo’s fees may seem relatively high, particularly for larger investments, they remain competitive compared to some alternatives. This digital bank’s emphasis on aligning with the preferences of its digital-native customer base reflects the changing dynamics of the financial sector.

In a landscape where banking and investment services are becoming increasingly accessible and customer-centric, Monzo’s trajectory exemplifies the evolving preferences and expectations of consumers in the modern banking world.

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